Maniac Manors Review
If you like point-and-click adventures like the classic Lucasarts title, Maniac Mansion, then you’ll probably want to check out Maniac Manors, an iOS point-and-click whose name is in no way an attempt to build off of the fame of Lucasarts’ game of the similar name. The real question is, though, will Maniac Manors live up to the hype of its namesake, or is it just a low budget ripoff?
If you don’t know what a point-and-click game is and have never played one before, this is probably not the best introduction to the genre. Maniac Manors features no tutorial of any kind, and provides very little direction to the player once they’ve started playing, so you’re left free-balling it to figure things out on your own. It’s nice not to have your hand held the entire way, but that does make things less noob-friendly. If you have played a point-and-click, however, you’ll know exactly what to expect here. Maniac Manors has you exploring a large, somewhat evil-looking mansion, trying to figure out where, oh where, your son has gotten off to. Players take control of a man who is… somewhat less than intelligent. His notes and the period thoughts and musings which pop up on screen are all misspelled piles of mish-mashed grammar. It’s an odd choice to frame the story through the eyes of such an uneducated protagonist, and while the grammatical issues provide some initial character value, if you have any sort of love for the English language, it’ll eventually drive you nuts to see her abused so.
You’ll traverse the grounds of the mansion collecting clues, picking up the odd item here and there, and solving numerous puzzles. Like any good point-and-click game, there are plenty of brain-tickling challenges to be found here, and while they’re occasionally obtuse, if you keep digging long enough you’ll probably find the answer (although if you can’t find the answer, don’t expect the internet to be able to help you, as there are very few guides/walkthroughs to reference).
Aesthetically, Maniac Manors is a bit rough around the edges. The graphics are very, very dark, which can be atmospheric at times, but at others it feels a bit like Doom 3 and all you want to do is click on a damn flashlight. Some spaces are so dark it’s hard to find your way out. The textures and models are all very basic-looking and probably would have been at home on the Playstation One. The music, however, does its job nicely… mostly because it’s damn spooky.
Maniac Manors certainly isn’t the best point-and-click adventure out there, with its moderately unimaginative puzzles, poor graphics, and name so close to Maniac Mansion that it borders on copyright infringement, but it’s still a pretty decent point-and-click adventure. At $1.99 it’s probably worth it to anyone looking to have a bit of creepy, brain-teasing adventure on the go.